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Drunkenness: Introduction

Heavy drinking was common in the army into the 20th century. But it should be remembered that it was also a problem in the country as a whole.

The Mutiny Act of 1689 (forerunner of the Army Act) stated that soldiers were to be put up in "Inns, Livery Stables, Alehouses, Victualling-houses and all Houses selling Brandy, Strong-waters, Sider (Cider) or Metheglin (an alcoholic drink made from honey) by retail". Billeting soldiers in these places made things worse.

Five pints of beer were supplied daily to soldiers until 1802 and strong spirits were available in barracks from 'grog-shops' run by private contractors.

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